In some methods, the highway is getting more durable for Brian Stuard. And in some methods, it is getting simpler.
Welcome to the brand new period of the PGA Tour.
Stuard, 39, the Jackson native and Oakland College alum who’s been a mainstay on the PGA Tour for almost a decade, misplaced his card following the 2021-22 season. However Stuard earned it again, albeit barely, by enjoying nicely sufficient within the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
There are 125 gamers who’ve full standing on the PGA Tour for the 2022-23 season, which begins subsequent season, then one other 50 from the Korn Ferry Tour which have various ranges of standing.
Stuard begins the autumn portion of the schedule forty ninth out of these 50, which is able to make it more durable to get into all of the occasions he is been used to enjoying, and thus more durable to earn the factors essential to get again within the high 125. However, by incomes again his card, Stuard is assured no less than $500,000 this 12 months as a part of the PGA Tour’s adjustments in response to the upstart LIV golf tour.
That is the primary time Stuard could have a minimal wage as an expert golfer, and given his standing, it most likely could not come at a greater time.
“That is a pleasant little factor to fall again on,” Stuard stated over the cellphone Thursday, earlier than heading out to apply at house in Texas. “Hopefully, I haven’t got to. However certain, that is actually a pleasant bonus, undoubtedly.
“Type of a very long time coming, I believe. It looks as if it has been within the works to give you one thing like that.”
Stuard first bought PGA Tour membership in 2010, then misplaced it, then bought it again in 2013. He is been a full-time PGA Tour member since, and even gained on the PGA Tour, on the 2016 Zurich Basic in New Orleans.
This previous season, he bought off to a great begin, however the struggles got here quick and livid towards the tip of the season. From early Could by means of Detroit’s Rocket Mortgage Basic on the finish of July, he missed 11 consecutive cuts.
He snapped the skid with a tie for twenty seventh on the Wyndham Championship, the ultimate occasion of the common season. It wasn’t sufficient to crack the highest 125 or make the playoffs, so he went to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, the place he had two strong showings after which a missed reduce within the third and ultimate occasion.
The Korn Ferry Tour awards 25 playing cards to the highest finishers within the common season, then 25 extra within the playoffs. By the point all the maths shook out, Stuard was twenty fourth of the ultimate 25 — sufficient to maintain his PGA Tour card, albeit with a lot much less standing than he is used to.
“I attempted to not (give it some thought),” Stuard stated. “I type of thought I had a reasonably good likelihood, however I attempted not to concentrate to it. I am undecided who was the primary one who type of instructed me, nevertheless it was good to listen to that formally.”
There are 9 tournaments in September, October and November as a part of the PGA Tour’s fall portion of the 2022-23 schedule, beginning with the Fortinet Championship subsequent week in Napa, California.
Stuard will tee it up there, and hope to get into as most of the different fall tournaments as potential,. He ought to get into his fair proportion, since most of the larger names on the PGA Tour usually skip many of the fall schedule, opening up spots for gamers with decrease precedence, like Stuard.
We’re operating a new-subscriber particular. Help native journalism, and subscribe right here.
After the autumn, the PGA Tour does a reshuffle of the precedence factors. If Stuard has a great exhibiting within the fall, he may leapfrog most of the 48 guys forward of him on the Korn Ferry checklist, opening up extra alternatives as soon as the meat of the schedule will get getting in January and February.
It stays to be seen, although, how the fields are going to shake out for 2022-23, given all of the PGA Tour adjustments, together with “elevated” occasions that may require the highest 20 most-popular gamers to play. The FedEx Cup playoffs is being reduce right down to 70 gamers this 12 months, too, and Stuard wonders if that would entice extra of the larger names to play extra tournaments that they usually would not. That might depart him excessive and dry.
However no less than he is bought the $500,000 minimal wage, which is able to depend in opposition to his season earnings.
“You are type of on the mercy of ready till the deadline each week to see if you are going to get in. It is robust to play out of generally. This 12 months’s going to be a special 12 months,” Stuard stated. “I do not know.
“It should be attention-grabbing to see the way it all performs out.”
Ryan Brehm (Traverse Metropolis/Michigan State) made the FedEx Cup playoffs this previous season, and is exempt on the PGA Tour by means of 2023-24 season due to his breakthrough win at Puerto Rico this 12 months. Joey Garber (Petoskey/Georgia) simply missed getting again his PGA Tour card, and can keep on the Korn Ferry Tour.